Organisational values are important. They describe the core ethics or principles which the company will abide by no matter what. As an aesthetic clinic, your values are important because they will help you to grow and develop, creating the future you want to experience. Over time, your business’s values will determine the character of the organisation and will be expressed in your operations and culture.
Values are part of your business’s unique identity. The greater the alignment between your personal values and those of your clinic, and the greater the alignment between your employees’ values, the greater the rapport, loyalty and commitment people will have towards your business and its success. It is this that builds a great culture.
Every individual and every organisation is involved in making hundreds of decisions every day. The decisions we make reflect our values and beliefs, and they are always directed towards a specific purpose. That purpose is the satisfaction of our individual or collective (organisational) needs.
Peter Drucker, known as the “father of business studies”, famously said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He didn’t mean that strategy is not important, rather that if the right culture is not in place nothing will happen. Conversely, having a culture where staff take individual responsibility yet work as a team will make things happen. To assess workplace culture and values, I like to use the two models explained below.
The Barrett Values Centre states that there are four types of values that we find in an organisational setting; individual values, relationship values, organisational values and societal values:1
1. Individual values reflect how you show up in your life, the principles you live by and what you consider important for your self-interest
2. Relationship values reflect how you relate to other people in your life; they can be friends, family or colleagues in your organisation
3. Organisational values reflect how your organisation shows up and operates in the world
4. Societal values reflect how you or your organisation relates to society. Societal values include future generations, environmental awareness, ecology, and sustainability. Corporate social responsibility is important for every business, no matter how small.
You could turn this into a team exercise with your staff. When everyone is involved in defining these values staff will be able to embody them, and that is exactly what is required in order to create a great culture. Values are not just written statements in your business plan; you and your team should be living and breathing them and they need to be embedded into the organisation. Your values will make you stand out from the crowd.
A good way to look at values is to think about what an employee would need to do to be fired. This shows you what is not acceptable to you. By defining what your values are, making them clear in job adverts and talking about them in interviews, you’ll be doing what we call values-based recruitment. For example, if you are a person who values the environment and tries to reduce your use of plastic and harmful toxins, you would not want to employ someone who does not care about the planet or understand what it is to behave in an eco-friendly way is, as your values are poles apart.
Culture is how a group of people in an organisation behave. It takes time to develop and that’s why creating one based on your values as an owner is so important. People who do not have similar values to you will not stay in the business long or will likely be disruptive. To examine the type of culture you have, I think that the Johnson and Scholes Culture Web Model works well. It identifies six interrelated elements of organisational culture, as stated below:2
1. Stories – The past events and people talked about inside and outside the organisation, including leaders. Who and what the organisation chooses to immortalise says a great deal about what it values and perceives as great behaviour
2. Rituals and routines – The daily behaviour and actions of people that signal acceptable behaviour. This determines what is expected to happen in given situations and what is valued by management
3. Symbols – The visual representations of the organisation including logos, the style of the office and dress codes, etc.
4. Organisational structure – This includes both the structure defined by the organisation chart and the unwritten lines of power and influence that indicate whose contributions are most valued
5. Control systems – The ways that the organisation is controlled. These include financial systems, quality systems, and rewards (including the way they are measured and distributed within the organisation)
6. Power structures – The pockets of real power in the organisation. This may involve one or two key senior directors, a whole group of senior managers, or even a department. The key is that these people have the greatest amount of influence on decisions, operations, and strategic direction.
1. http://leadershipforchange.org.uk/wp-content/ uploads/Cultural-Web-Questions.pdf
Taruna Chauhan is the Director of T Chauhan Consultancy. Her work involves supporting and mentoring aesthetics businesses who undertake a regulated activity with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), using her Continuous Quality Success Framework.